- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 24, 2007

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Guilford College has asked five students thought to have been involved in a racially tinged fight last weekend — including the accusers — to move off campus during the investigation.

The three Guilford football players and the two Palestinian students who have accused them of assault still can attend class and study in the library, said Guilford President Kent Chabotar.

Mr. Chabotar announced the request by the school, which has a Quaker background, at an emotional forum held last night near campus. He stressed that the college was working to figure out what happened.

“I’m saying we need to get the truth,” Mr. Chabotar said, adding that administrators were hearing “a core of things that are very consistent” about the fight.

Authorities have charged Michael Bates, 19; Michael Robert Six, 20; and Christopher Barnette, 21, with misdemeanor assault and ethnic intimidation, according to court documents. They were released Monday on $2,000 bail.

Court papers say the three players taunted Guilford students Faris Khader and Osama Sabbah and North Carolina State University student Omar Awartani with ethnic slurs and called them “terrorists” while punching and kicking them.

Arrest warrants also said Mr. Bates and Mr. Six used brass knuckles. Police said they have assigned a detective to investigate the fight.

“We’re just trying to get a handle on it now before we release any more information,” said Greensboro police Lt. Brian James.

None of the players charged or the accusers has returned messages seeking comment. School officials said that they were asking the students to move off campus so they would not have contact with one another, and that the college would provide them with hotel rooms if necessary.

During yesterday’s meeting with Mr. Chabotar, students, staff and parents took turns expressing anger, sadness and concern about the fight. Many voiced support of various speakers with a standard phrase used among Quakers, formally called the Religious Society of Friends: “Friend speaks my mind.”

“I think that the culture of aggression that we have needs to be addressed,” said Natalie Bent, a freshman from Durham.


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